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“No, Ellie,” Justin told his little sister. “Jessie and I are playing the game. You can play with the spinner when we’re done.” Justin tried to be patient with Ellie, since she was only two years old. Mom called it “the terrible twos.” But Ellie was starting to make him mad.
“Okay, Justin. Your turn,” said Jessie as she moved her game piece.
Justin studied the board. Jessie was two spaces ahead of him. He flicked the spinner with his finger. He needed a six to win the game. The black arrow spun around. It was just about to stop on the six when Ellie’s hand shot out and hit the spinner again!
“Ellie!” Justin shouted. “You messed up my turn!”
Ellie frowned. “Sorry, Justin,” she said, then turned to leave.
Ellie wandered into the kitchen. Her mom was standing at the counter making cookies. Ellie pushed the stool over and climbed up.
“You may watch, but don’t touch anything,” Mom said as she put sugar and butter into the mixing bowl. The doorbell rang and Mom went to answer it.
Ellie looked at all the ingredients lying on the counter. She saw a bowl of eggs piled high next to the mixer. Standing on her tiptoes—on the very edge of the stepstool—Ellie reached for the egg bowl and started to pull it toward her. Suddenly her foot slipped. Down she went, sitting hard on the floor—plunk! But up on the counter, the egg bowl had tipped over. All the eggs began to roll off the counter one by one. Plop! Plop! Plop! They fell right on top of Ellie’s head. “Mommy!” she cried.
“Ellie! What’s going on?” her mom exclaimed as she rushed back into the kitchen. “I told you not to touch anything.”
Ellie looked up through the gooey mess. “I’m sorry, Mommy,” she sniffled.
“Let’s clean you up,” Mom said as she picked up Ellie, trying not to get eggs all over herself.
Soon Ellie was bathed and dressed again.
“Put the toys in the bucket now. I’ll be back in a few minutes,” Mom said and left Ellie to put the bath toys away. Then she headed down to the kitchen to clean up the egg mess.
Mom had just finished wiping up the last bit of egg yolk off the floor when she heard Justin calling from upstairs, “Mom! Come here quick!”
Mom ran up the stairs to see Justin and Jessie standing in the hallway, pointing into the bathroom. A pool of water covered the floor. Ellie was standing beside the toilet, dropping her bath toys in and swishing them around with the toilet brush.
“Ellie! What are you doing?” Mom gasped in horror.
“I give my toys a bath,” Ellie said proudly.
Mom peered into the toilet to see a jumble of toys piled in the water.
“I flush now?” Ellie asked, reaching her hand toward the handle.
“No!” everyone yelled. Mom picked Ellie up and set her down in the hallway by Justin and Jessie.
“Ellie, where did I tell you to put the toys?”
“In there?” Ellie pointed to the bucket by the tub.
“Yes. That’s where they belong—not in the toilet.”
“I sorry!” Ellie didn’t look very sorry. Justin and Jessie tried not to giggle. Mom sent them to get extra towels to soak up the water.
That evening at the dinner table, Dad asked how everyone’s day went. Justin described how Ellie was cleaning her bath toys in the toilet. Every time she heard her name, Ellie smiled and kicked her legs out from under her high chair. The dishes bounced on the table.
“Don’t do that, Ellie,” Dad said.
“Sorry, Daddy,” Ellie said.
Justin continued with his tale until—thunk! The table moved again when Ellie kicked it.
Mom said, “It seems we have a bad cycle going on here. Ellie’s doing things she knows she shouldn’t, then simply saying sorry.”
“I see,” said Dad. “Maybe it’s time to start punishing her more when she does something wrong.”
“Punishing her?” asked Justin after he swallowed a large mouthful of chicken nuggets covered in ketchup. “You mean like you punish me so I won’t keep doing wrong things over and over?”
“That’s right,” Dad replied.
“But what if you say you’re sorry? Doesn’t that make it better?” asked Justin.
“People say they’re sorry all the time,” Dad replied. “God wants us to really mean it. Saying you’re sorry for something is like promising not to do it anymore.”
Mom pulled Ellie’s high chair away from the table. “You can’t sit by the table anymore, Ellie. No more kicking the table.”
Ellie put her feet down and sat still then looked up at her mom, “I sorry. No more kicking.”
“Good girl,” Mom said as she gave Ellie a kiss. “Let’s get dessert!”
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.